Mahagauri is the beautiful manifestation of Goddess Durga in her eighth form. She is worshiped on the eighth day of Navratri, more commonly known as Ashtami. Being a symbol of purity, serenity and tranquility, Mahagauri is said to put an end to all the suffering of her devotees. It is also believed that Mahagauri is the 16 year old unmarried form of Goddess Parvati.
Origin and History
It is believed that the 16 year old unmarried Goddess Parvati wanted to marry Lord Shiva and, as such, did rigorous meditation (tapasya) for a very long time to please him. Because of this, she ended up facing a lot of hardships and her complexion turned dark with dust, heat and starvation. Lord Shiva, however, was pleased with her tapasya and agreed to marry her. Using the gangajal flowing out of his matted hair, he washed her clean. Consequently, her white clothes and fair complexion started glowing radiantly again. Since then, she is known as Mahagauri.
Appearance and Form
This eighth avatar of Navdurga in her physical form is depicted as a three-eyed and four-armed beautiful Goddess mounted on a white vrishabha (bull). Two of her arms on either side are in the Varada and Abhay mudras (poses) to bless and alleviate fears from the lives of her devotees, while her other two arms hold a trishul (trident) and damru (tambourine). On this day, the goddess is dressed in peacock green clothes and is adorned with white ornaments. Because of her fair complexion, Goddess Mahagauri is often compared with the moon, a conch and jasmine flowers.
Customs and Rituals
Devotees observe fast and perform several rituals on Ashtami. They worship the kalash to invite planetary deities and family members of this Goddess. Like other days of Navratri, all the chapters of ‘Durga Saptashi’ are read. Additionally, this beautiful Goddess’s blessings are invoked with a Mahagauri pujan mantra.